Linda Hamilton Spills About James Cameron's 'Titanic'-Sized Ego
By Dino Sossi Posted Feb 6th 2010 03:34PM
Actress Linda Hamilton, one of James Cameron's four ex-wives (!), reveals some of the many challenges in being married to the hard-charging director of 'Avatar', reports the Daily Mail.
"'Titanic' was the mistress he left me for," said Hamilton.
Hamilton starred as Sarah Connor in the first two 'Terminator' films and started dating Cameron during the early 1990s. He left Hamilton in 1997 for actress Suzy Amis who had a small role in his blockbuster 'Titanic.' He returned to Hamilton and they married but he left eight months later for Amis who is currently his wife. Cameron has a daughter with Hamilton and a son and two daughters with Amis.
"He was the kind of man who really would rather be at work with the mistress than at home with the wife," said Hamilton. "That was hard to come to terms with."
The movie business has provided Cameron with much in the name of awards - he won 11 Oscars for 'Titanic.' It has also produced a tremendous amount of box office booty - $1.84 billion for 'Titanic' and $1.85 billion and counting for 'Avatar.' But it also has been the source of much of his marital upheaval.
Cameron first married Sharon Williams, who was working as a waitress at a truckers' bar, when he was an 18-year-old driver. After 12 years of marriage, they split and he met his second wife, 'Terminator' and 'Aliens' producer Gale Anne Hurd. Their marriage ended with the making of 'The Abyss.' Months later he met Kathryn Bigelow, director of 'The Hurt Locker,' which is arguably his fiercest competition in this year's Academy Award race. Their marriage began to fall apart when he started producing 'Terminator 2' after they were married in August 1989. At the time he was rumored to be involved with Hamilton, his leading actress.
In the Mail interview, Hamilton shared a number of anecdotes and quotes that give some insight into the difficulties of being romantically involved with the force of nature that is James Cameron.
On the effect of the success of 'Titanic' on Cameron's personality: "He was always a jerk, so there is no way to tell."
An apology for publicly calling Cameron "a jerk": "I love you terribly, Jim, and I'll try to love you less terribly from now on."
On work and women: "The woman he can't get is always his dream girl. Work and women go hand in hand for Jimbo, and I should know."
On her relationship with Cameron's wife Suzy Amis: "It's interesting because while he was making 'Titanic,' Suzy at that time was the gargoyle on the end of my bed, waiting to swoop in. Now I'm the gargoyle on her bed because for Jim, the one who doesn't end up with him is always the one he wants. I'm the one who got away, and she has to live with that."
On losing Cameron to Amis: "One does want to win, of course, but I've known for many years that this was the very best way to work it. I'm the one that got away and she has to live with that and share him with me."
"Toilet not in service": Cameron is infamous for being intimidating on set. Actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ran from 'The Abyss' set crying "we are not animals" when he told cast members to relieve themselves inside their wet suits during a water scene to save time. He also warned that toilet breaks during the filming of 'True Lies' with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis could lead to dismissal.
A balanced diet: Cameron often says "I eat pressure for breakfast."
On her initial reactions to the 'Avatar' script: "I read 'Avatar' while we were married and I said nothing. I didn't think it was rubbish, and I'd say to him: 'Oh, that's good, honey.' But it's not like I thought it was amazing, because clearly Jimbo had a vision and I couldn't translate the depth and scale to foresee it. This movie is above and beyond."
On her unconditional love for Cameron: "It had been a fraught relationship because we were both pretty strong personalities. I loved him unconditionally, though, because he's a brilliant and talented man."
On living together: "He loved my quickness and toughness. But that doesn't make a marriage, so we related to each other in some very theoretical way. But in terms of living a life together, no way."
On standing up to Cameron: "Jimbo is a sexy guy when he's working. I'd known him from the first 'Terminator' film and we did not particularly like each other or get along. I am probably the only actress in the history of James Cameron to have stood up to him."
On her reaction to not seeing a playback of a scene from 'Terminator': "But Jim said: 'No time, got to move on.' I went bonkers and I took him off the set to shout at him. But there was no ceiling, so everybody could hear us anyhow. I screamed at him: 'If you want to see a human being on that set, treat me like a f*****g human being.' He tried to calm me down, apologized, gave me a bottle of Champagne and got me back on set. Then he told the crew that he'd made me work up that rage to get a better performance from me. Bull! So the apology didn't mean a thing. I thought: 'You creep!'"
On getting Cameron's attention on set: "It's hard to get Jim's attention. He shouts 'Take a number, take a number,' which means get in the 15-strong queue of people waiting to see him because he likes to control every second. Jim can do everyone's job."
On what's sexy on set and what's sexy at home: "Knowing he's so controlling, I just got really strong. What really helped me open my heart to Jimbo was suddenly seeing him as a kid having a temper tantrum. But seeing him control everything on set was really sexy. However, what's sexy on the set is not necessarily sexy at home."
On seven years of fighting: "So we did nothing but fight over marriage for seven years. It wasn't so much that I wanted to get married, but I wanted to have a say in whether or not we got married. There's a big difference. These sorts of rows (arguments) kept everything alive."
On Cameron's controlling nature at home: "I am a designer, I love the home, but Jim wouldn't let me have any freedom to do anything. He would come home with things he'd insist on having. Then he banned a close male friend of mine from staying. But in those days Jimbo would even put his own family up in a hotel - that's just Jim."
On throwing out Cameron's possessions: "I threw all his things out of the door more times than I can remember. He never threw things back at me, but he would storm off and, even worse, have his assistant collect his things for him and move them out. Ouch! That hurt."
On throwing out Cameron's gymnasium: "Then he'd move back and it'd all happen again. I've lost count of how many times his gymnasium was moved in and out of our house. It got to the stage where I said: 'Let me at least keep your gym because this is really getting expensive.'"
On the idea of their daughter Josephine creating a calmer domestic environment: "No, there was just more for us to war about."
On Cameron's absentee parenting: "But in those days Jim would go away for three years to do a movie then come back and treat her (Josephine) like a one-year-old and think she was going to be stolen in the playground. Meanwhile, Josephine and I had our rules and knew how things worked. He argued over that, of course."
On Cameron's epic directorial ambitions: "Jimbo had a love of fast cars, but as the warrior bride I was on the back of a motorcycle. He used to say to me: 'Anybody can be a father or a husband. There are only five people in the world who can do what I do, and I'm going for that.'"
On whether she is supporting Cameron in the upcoming Oscars race: "I have torn loyalties, but that's all right because that's just like real life."
Linda Hamilton's new movie 'Holy Water' is being released today.
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